College Basketball Odds, Picks & Predictions for BYU vs. San Diego State (Friday, Nov. 11)
Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images. Pictured: Fousseyni Traore (BYU)
BYU vs. San Diego State Odds
-115o / -105u
|San Diego State Odds|
-115o / -105u
BYU missed the NCAA tournament last season after a brutal stretch in the second half of the season, and the Cougars lost a good amount of talent from that roster.
San Diego State returns almost its entire core from a group that struggled through the non-conference before surging in the second half of Mountain West play to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.
The Aztecs will once again be driven by a defense that completely locks down the interior and applies a ton of ball pressure to turn opponents over.
The Cougars won the non-conference meeting between these two teams last year in Provo, but the market clearly believes the Aztecs are the better team with all of their returning production.
When you consider the matchup for the Cougars, it's hard to see where BYU will find easy offense in this game.
BYU built its success in 2020 and 2021 off of its elite offensive scoring talent and experienced roster.
The Cougars started last season with a 6-0 record, but injuries, offensive regression and over-reliance on Alex Barcello led them to just a 9-6 record in the West Coast Conference.
The Cougars are a lot younger this season than year's past, and they rank below-average nationally in returning production. Barcello was the engine that made the offense go last season as the team's primary ball handler and the igniter of the offense.
BYU could have some problems at the point guard position early in the season as it figures things out, and that's not what you want going up against an elite San Diego State defense.
The Cougars were just 175th in offensive turnover rate last year, and they turned the ball over on 29.9% of possessions in their opening-night win against Idaho State.
The Cougars will rely on a bunch of frontcourt scoring to sustain their offense, especially early in the season.
There are question marks about how much perimeter shooting they have, and thus they'll rely on Gideon George and Fousseyni Traore in the interior.
The two combined for 25 points and 19 rebounds in the season opener. But going up against the frontcourt of Idaho State is a lot different than the one they'll face on Friday night.
The Aztecs are the preseason favorite in the Mountain West and are a dark horse contender to make a deep run in March — a deep run that has eluded the program despite solid tournament seeding in recent seasons.
The Aztecs return Nathan Mensah in the middle of their elite defense and should once again rank inside the top 10 in 2-point field goal defense. Mensah is one of the best interior defenders in the country, and his length and positioning should make scoring really difficult on the inside for BYU.
Matt Bradley is the primary go-to scorer for the Aztecs, but it's not as if this was an efficient offense.
The Aztecs will use a lot of isolation for Bradley, and there's still question marks about the quality and consistency of the perimeter shooting. Bradley accounted for more than 25% of the Aztecs' points last season.
They did add some transfers, including Seattle point guard Darrion Trammell. He shined in the first game against Cal St. Fullerton with 18 points, but I don't expect him to shoot 80% from 3 often.
The Cougars' defense will not apply a ton of ball pressure — top-30 in turnover rate last year — and most of their defensively-minded wings return to the fold this season.
BYU vs. San Diego State Betting Pick
San Diego State forces you into isolation looks, keeps you away from the rim and applies a ton of ball pressure.
The biggest weaknesses for BYU makes this a bad matchup for the Cougars' offense. The Cougars lack a go-to guard scorer without Barcello. They need to get the ball inside to their bigs to score. And BYU has a point guard issue at the moment that could lead to a lot of turnovers.
This is also a matchup of contrasting paces, but the Aztecs' ability to turn BYU over should force BYU to play at a slower pace than it's comfortable with.
The Aztecs typically will surrender offensive rebounds because of how aggressive they are, but that's not really a BYU strength.
Because of the guard issues, I also wouldn't be surprised to see Mark Pope play at a slightly slower pace this season than he did with Barcello last year.
I'm expecting a slower pace for this game than BYU normally plays at, and I don't see much offensive efficiency for the Cougars in this game, either.
I'm betting the under at 139.5, and would play it at 135 or better.